After a disappointment of an album, months of anticipation, tons of rumours, and many delays, Drake’s “playlist” More Life is finally out. Personally, I was really let down by Views. It felt like the final nail in the coffin for Drake’s rap career. On Views he evolved into the pop superstar everyone knew he was going to become. The dancehall inspired record attempted to make a theme out of its jumbled tracks, which made it even worse. The album’s major hit, “One Dance”, was irritating, to say the least, and it felt like Drake wasn’t even trying to prove anything. He acted like he was the greatest artist since MJ without giving any evidence of the claim. Overall, Views was a disappointing album that left me wanting more Drake and left me waiting to see what he would do on his next project. So naturally, when the 3 singles for this “playlist” Drake was going to release less than a year after Views, I was inclined to listen. “Fake Love” was one my favourite Drake songs in a while, which is saying something, because I hate when Drake goes pop. The other singles, although not on the album, were classic Drake rap tracks, with tons of energy that got me amped for this new release. Now, after tons of push backs and mishaps on Drake’s part, the album is out.
After extensive listening of the album the past few days, one word can sum up the album for me. Improvement. The second the record started, and the beautiful Hiatus Kaiyote sample came on, I’ll admit I was really nervous. I thought this was going to be just a sequel to Views but marketed as a mixtape so people can’t get mad when they realise these tracks are throwaways. However, when the sample of Drake’s speech from the American Music Awards came on, I knew he was about to go in. I was so right. The stuttering synth rhythm on the opener “Free Smoke” combined with Drake’s savage refrain and hilarious lyrics about the Meek feud and his rocky relationship with J.Lo make for an amazing way to start the album. The song makes for a great tone setter for the rest of the record and brings me back to Drake’s flow on the If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mixtape. As soon as this song ends, we hear an angry Giggs screaming at the listener “it’s an OVO ting ay”. I can’t say he was wrong, as the next song that he is also featured is great. The bumping, grime beat with great verses from Giggs and Drake make for another banger. This song, “No Long Talk”, is a great example of Drake channelling his Grime influences to make a song that blends his usual style with a hard and rugged feel. This will not be the last we hear from a grime rapper for this mixtape.
After these back to back bangers, Drake decides to take it several steps back on “Passionfruit”, which I can already hear being all over the radio this summer. The dancehall song with a calm and mellow beat that feels like someone tiptoeing across a floor suits well for Drake, but it’s not enough to make the track great. It gets boring after a few minutes and feels super cheesy. Drake continues to write these corny dancehall songs on “Madiba Riddim” and “Blem” with the latter being my least favorite song on the entire project. The choppy and tropical beat can’t help the terrible refrain and unintentionally hilarious lyrics that take the song on a downward spiral. The already bad song somehow stretches itself to over three minutes, which is ridiculous considering it starts repeating itself at the minute and a half mark. However, the album picks right up with “4422” featuring Sampha. Sampha, who just released the best album of the year so far (Check it out if you haven’t!), doesn’t let me down, with his beautiful falsetto gliding over a chopped up, low-key beat making for a heartfelt ballad. The song almost sounds like a bonus track from his last album, Process.
Then, Drake ends the balladry and transitions perfectly into the incredible “Gyalchester”, which again highlights Drake’s obsession with grime music. He brags about his riches and goes through topics such as loyalty in the rap game. He continues the hard, trap-flavored rap songs with the insanely cool “Skepta Interlude”, where famous grime rapper Skepta is given an entire track, and “Portland”, which features Travis Scott, Quavo, and an awesome flute sample. This streak of songs, also including “Sacrifices” with an unnecessary verse from 2 Chainz but an amazing verse from Young Thug, are my favorite songs on the project. From the infectious hook on “Portland” to the spitfire verses on “Skepta Interlude”, it’s no wonder why they’re the best on the entire mixtape. Right after these songs, the album gets back into sad Drake mode with “Nothing Into Somethings” and “Teenage Fever”, with the former having an amazing hook and refrain, and the latter having a cool use of a J.Lo sample.
Then we have “KMT” sporting a fantastic verse from Giggs again, and a flow from Drake that was ripped straight from the XXXTentacion playbook. “Lose You” and “Since Way Back” are complete snoozers with a boring verse from PARTYNEXTDOOR on the latter, who’s the most useless artist out now. However, the stunning “Glow” featuring Kanye West is a spectacle of a song that’s placed in the middle of these two lacklustre ones. Kanye belts out in a singing voice and rap style that we haven’t heard from him since Graduation, and an Earth, Wind and Fire sample that blends perfectly with the vibe of the track. After that, we have “Fake Love”, which I’m still not sick of, “Ice Melts” featuring Thugger again, and closer “Do Not Disturb”. “Ice Melts” acts as Young Thug song featuring Drake, which makes for an interesting beat for Drake to rap over. “Do Not Disturb” is Drake’s most honest song in years and his best closer. The song details Drake’s struggle with being famous and a catch up of his life since Views. Drake glides on the slippery, soulful beat effortlessly and ends the album really well.
Overall, the album delivered exactly what I wanted, which was an improvement on the atrocity that was Views. The album gave me a multi-cultural experience that didn’t feel bloated or overdone, even with the few filler tracks like “Blem”. I can’t wait to hear what’s next from Drake after this great return to form.